From the Well - 3/28/2018

Women Running From the Tomb

Women Running From the Tomb

Luke 24:1-9 (NRSV)

1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5 The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that "the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again." 8 Then they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 

Revelation 21:1-4 (NRSV) 
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away."

A passenger in a taxi leaned over to ask the driver a question and tapped him on the shoulder. The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over the curb and stopped just inches from a large plate glass window.

For a few moments everything was silent in the cab, and then the still shaking driver said, "I'm sorry but you scared the daylights out of me." The frightened passenger apologized to the driver and said he didn't realize a mere tap on the shoulder could frighten him so much.

The frightened driver replied, "No, no, I'm sorry, it's entirely my fault. Today is my first day driving a cab. I've been driving a hearse for the last 25 years."

Some women including Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus went to anoint Jesus' body for burial. They were startled to find the tomb stone rolled away. The scripture passage tells us, "the women were terrified," when they were confronted by two men in dazzling clothes (I would have needed a defibrillator). 

I suspect that encountering the unsuspected in any graveyard would be a life-altering experience. Although they didn't immediately realize it, the empty tomb would be a life-changing experience for the two Mary's and the disciples. Ultimately it would be an experience that would change the world forever. But at the immediate moment there was only fear and suspicion.

When confronted with the resurrection the women ran. I don't blame them. That's what I would have done. They ran to the disciples who accused them of sharing an "idle tale." It's interesting to note that the original meaning of the Greek word for "idle tale"was even stronger than our Biblical language suggests, for an "idle tale" was used by medical writers of the day to describe the incoherent babbling of the delirious or mentally disturbed. In other words, the disciples thought the women's story was crazy!

But the ever curious Peter was moved to run to the tomb to see for himself. Of course he found the tomb empty just as the women had described. Peter didn't know what to do so he went home. Even today we run from the tomb. We are confused. We don't know what to do with the resurrection. Is the resurrection too good to be true? There are those who reject it all together. Even those of us who do believe are not sure at times and struggle with what to believe.

Like the women and Peter we are not sure what to do with the resurrection. It is only when, like the disciples, we are confronted by the living Christ that we begin to realize that it's not really what we do with the resurrection but rather what the resurrection does with and us and the world that really matters. Think about it.